About the Book:
Title: Like a Lover
Series info: Part two of the Housemates series*
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Jaybird Press (self published)
Length: 49,000 words
Genre: Contemporary gay romance
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh
Release Date: Friday September 4th 2015
Falling in love isn’t part of Josh’s life plan—especially not with a client.
Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debts. Focused on his goals, he’s working as an escort to pay his way. He enjoys the no-strings sex and doesn’t have the time or inclination for a relationship. Falling in love definitely isn’t part of the deal—especially not with a client.
When Rupert meets Josh in a bar, he’s smitten on sight. He’s never paid for sex before, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should have known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him, he has an inheritance to support his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT wouldn’t cover the cost.
With each appointment the lines get increasingly blurred. Something is developing between them that feels more like a relationship than a business transaction, but they come from different worlds and to go from client-and-escort to lovers seems impossible. If they want a future together, Josh and Rupert have a lot to overcome.
“I like your lip ring,” Rupert said. His gaze dropped lower to Josh’s collarbones. “What are your tattoos of?”
“Swallows.” Rupert would just be able to see the wing tips that showed in this low-necked T-shirt. “Two of them.”
“Have you got any other tattoos?”
Josh gave a slow, teasing smile. “Maybe. Do you want me to show you?”
Rupert met his eyes again. There was a flicker of uncertainty before he answered. “Yes. I’d like that.”
Josh turned over the possibilities in his mind. It had been a long time since he’d had sex for anything other than for money. He usually saw clients at least three nights a week. They scratched the itch for him, and he didn’t have the time or inclination to hook up with other guys. He hadn’t dated since he’d started working as an escort. Josh didn’t like lying about his job, but most guys didn’t want to date escorts.
It would be easy to pick Rupert up tonight, though, and have no-strings sex with him for fun rather than cash. But Josh’s rent was due.
“Me too. But it’ll cost you,” he finally said.
Rupert frowned, obvious confusion crossing his features as he tried to make sense of Josh’s words. “What? I don’t—”
“You’re hot, and I wish I could do this without asking you for money. But a client let me down this evening. I have a hotel room booked and paid for next door, and I need someone to cover the cost for me.” The lie came smoothly. “I can’t afford to have sex for free tonight.”
Rupert’s mouth dropped open. Shock was evident on his face, but there was something else that was harder to read. His cheeks flooded pink again and his eyes went dark. “You’re….” His voice came out husky, and he cleared his throat. “You’re a….”
“A sex worker. An escort, to be precise. Hooker, rent boy, you get the gist. I’m an expensive one too. But my clients think I’m worth the money.” Josh waited, tension making a muscle tick in his jaw as he forced himself to stay still and hold Rupert’s gaze. On the occasions he’d tried picking up clients face-to-face, their reactions had varied. Interest, anger, excitement, disgust… he’d seen them all. He steeled himself, ready for rejection.
Rupert licked his lips. “How much?” he finally asked.
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.
Like a Lover is the sequel to Helping Hand, which I read and thoroughly enjoyed not too long ago. While I would certainly advice anyone to read Helping Hand first, it is not necessary to have read that book or be familiar with the story or characters to fully enjoy Like a Lover. And ‘enjoy’ is the operative word in that sentence.
Rupert and Josh are what Jay Nortecote writes so very well. Normal and recognisable young man who sound and act like the sort of people you would love to have has your friends. Okay, maybe not completely normal.
Maybe Josh isn’t entirely the boy next door unless, that is, the boy next door happens to be an escort. While his job is a means to an end for Josh, it added bonus. His plan works perfectly and he is well on his way to making it through uni without getting into debt, except that he’d never expected to fall for a client.
And Rupert isn’t quite the boy next door either, unless the boy next door happens to have come into an inheritance large enough to not only afford him a mortgage free apartment but also the ability to pay for frequent hook-ups with the escort he’s starting to fall for.
But of course they aren’t intrinsically different from anybody else. They struggle with the feelings they are developing while engaged in what may be a sort of relationship but more of the financial than the romantic variety. With Rupert afraid Josh won’t see him anymore if he admits his feelings and Josh not seeing how a relationship could possibly grow out of what started off as a financial transaction, at least one of them needs a severe talking to in order to see sense.
Like a Lover was pretty much the perfect read for me. With likable but flawed characters, a fascinating premise and a near to ideal balance between angst and humour in a smoothly written story I really couldn’t ask for more.
It was nice to get a few glimpses of Jez an Mac from Helping Hand, still going strong six months later. I really liked that the roles were reversed this time. Where Josh had to talk sense into Jez in Helping Hand, this time it is Jez who has to get Josh’s head out of his arse about Rupert.
This was a charming and very hot and sexy story. Since one of the main characters is an escort the frequent sex scenes didn’t come as a surprise. And after reading many books by this author, neither did the quality of those scenes. Jay Northcote writes hot and steamy very well.
In fact, but I may have said this before, Jay Northcote writes a wonderful story very well. I can always trust her to keep me fully entertained, give me a wonderful reading experience and leave me happy and fulfilled when the story has ended. There’s really not a whole lot more you can ask for in your books.